Last week I started teaching a class at UMD about the history of drag on stage, screen & life. I’m co-teaching with a much more experienced instructor and we are having a blast!
In the class, I am the resident Faux Queen, which is fun, but I’ve been challenged (I suppose) to try out re-making myself as a drag king. We watched Diane Torr’s Man for a Day - a documentary about her drag king workshops – and in a few weeks time we will all be trying it out in a performance workshop.
When I watched Man for a Day my first reaction was “I don’t think I can do this! I’m going to be so bad at this!” And I am still really nervous that I will be the worst drag king in human history. But I am also very excited to try and see if I can shake off some of my ways, and try to practice what it might be like if I was a duuuuude-brah! (Am I saying that right? No idea…)
I certainly understand gender as a set of performative codes or scripts – and I do think of my drag queen performances as Agorafauxbia as a more masculine version of myself, more so than I would normally perform everyday. I tend to think of queen identity as a delightful combination of the best bits of femininity and masculinity all swirled together in a sparkly hot mess. I suppose what faux queens are often doing is performing the fantasy version of women that drag queens have imagined and developed. So more or less drag queen aesthetics and gestures are a man’s version of woman. But how will I be a drag king? I’m so flouncy! How will I do a woman’s version of a man? (and I have trouble seeing how that is different from a man’s version of a man).
As always, I’ll give it a crack! To start, a genius name: Claus troFauxbia — I wonder how he is related to Agora? Brother, Father, Son, distant danish cousin, or ex-husband maybe? Does he play violin maybe? What does he sound like? What does he look like? Where is he from? Maybe he is the boy hiding under all of Agora’s sparkle and paint? Hmmm…
More to come on the development of Claus!